Thursday, October 4, 2007

Could James Dobson's Threat of a Third Party Throw America Onto the Fast Track to Socialism?

Recently, Dr. James Dobson and other evangelical leaders have made comments that they would support a third party candidate instead of voting for Hillary or Guliani (read about it here). The problem is that this will only split the conservative vote while the liberal (socialist...yes Hillary is a socialist) camp remains unified. This will be essentially handing the White House to Hillary (or Obama, who is frightening for similar reasons). I am no fan of Guliani, so I pray that someone who is pro-life gets the nomination. However the Dobson criteria that the president be an evangelical Christian may be one that is out of reach. We must decide what we hold to be important and act accordingly.

Pray that Dobson either reconsiders (if he hasn't already), or that his third party idea will pull most of the conservative party with it. He has a massive amount of influence on the evangelical right.

It is entirely too early for this kind of talk.

16 comments:

Kyle said...

I would rather vote following my conscience and have a bad outcome than vote against my conscience and have a bad outcome.

Justin said...

Kyle, I appreciate the fact that you want to vote with your conscience. However, you must be careful that you fully assimilate all the available information before you "vote your conscience." Remember that conscience without knowledge is simply emotion, and voting simply based off of emotion is a very irresponsible thing to do.
Seeing the big picture is very important in an election such as this one. It is unfortunate that we are faced with the current selection of conservative candidates in this election, because the opposition (the democrats) this time around are some of the biggest supporters of pretty much everything we are against.
It is fairly common knowledge that the presidential race is going to be a competition between the Democrat and Republican parties. There is no realistic way that a third party candidate can win the upcoming election. Unfortunately, this means that any vote cast for a third party candidate takes votes away from a conservative candidate. Since it has already been established that the democratic candidate is far more opposed to our values than the conservative, and we know all of this ahead of time, then voting for third party is equivalent to actually casting a vote for the democratic candidate.
Knowledge of the fact that my vote would be helping a candidate that stands against EVERYTHING that I believe would be on my conscience. Would it be on yours?

Daniel said...

I'm voting for Romney. Yes he's mormon but he's also not running for Pope!

More evangelical conservatives (the name of my blog by the way) need to learn to think for themselves instead of who to vote for by Dobson and the like.

In politics AND theology...

Kyle said...

Justin, thanks writing, let's me try and respond:

1) I don't consider my conscience just an emotion. In fact, I don't have many strong emotions about abortion (though I probably should), instead I have a strong belief that it is wrong and supporting abortion would go against my conscience. (Note: I am not sure whether voting for a candidate who supports abortion is an act supporting abortion).

2)I am curious what you mean by the Democratic candidate being far more opposed to our values means. I probably would disagree with the Democrat candidate a lot more, especially on divisive issues, but I certainly couldn't say that they stand against everything I believe. There are bound to be a lot of areas where we all agree, liberal or conservative.

3)My main point here (and why I posted the first one) is that everyone seems to be using an "ends justify the means" argument to vote Republican. If I believe the means to be wrong, I cannot use them in good conscience. I am concerned about the ends, but not at the expense of the means. My theory is that it is our job to do the right thing now and God's job to make everything work out how it's supposed to, not that I could make everything work out how it's supposed to if I tried. The Bible seems to be all for doing (seemingly) stupid things for God and having God make it all work out(ie. David and Goliath, Gideon, Noah).

We can debate whether or not voting for a pro-choice candidate (or whatever other issue) is in itself wrong or not, but we cannot simply point to a possible worse outcome and say, "to prevent that, it is worth using any means." Who knows how what the future would hold whether I vote on way or another? (Note: the answer is "God knows.") I'll think about the big picture, but in the end, leave the big picture to God. A Democrat winning and the Republican Party collapsing might end up being the best thing for the US and the world, or it might not, so I'll just try to do what is right in the meantime.

Tom said...

I'm certainly a fish out of water here, but I'd say that y'all should be careful about supporting a third-party candidate who has no chance to win rather than supporting a candidate who is not ideal but is generally in agreement with your political stance. Many of us Democrats wish that those who voted their conscience and checked the "Ralph Nadar" box would have had a somewhat broader perspective. Had they, we'd have had President Gore instead of President Bush in 2000.

Like I intimated, I'm not expecting y'all to agree that Gore would have been better than Bush. I'm only pointing out that symbolic votes can have a major impact in the general election

Tom said...

One more thing: if you are going to sling mud here (and I take the term "socialist" to be mud in these parts), then you owe us a plausible account of socialist according to which Hillary counts as a socialist. Is wanting to significantly expand health care enough? Or has she argued that virtually all income (as opposed to property...after all, you haven't called her a communist) should be turned over to the state? I watch CNN so I might have missed what Fox is reporting.

Justin said...

Tom,
It isn't the wanting to expand health care that makes her a socialist. It's that she wants to expand health care by increasing taxes on the rich in order to give free health care to the poor. This is wealth redistribution, and is by definition, socialism. From politico.com, here's a quote from Ms. Clinton..."The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor."I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."
Sounds suspiciously like socialism to me. Oh, here's the link for that...
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0507/4230.html

Finally, your first post was polite, but then in your second post you both accuse the blog author of mud slinging and take a veiled shot at Fox News. Perhaps next time in order to encourage intelligent discourse, you could simply ask the author what she meant and leave the childish insults elsewhere.

Sarah Scott said...

Justin,

Thank you for that explanation of why Hillary is a socialist!

Tom,

The term "socialist" is only mudslinging if you believe that I am using it to hurt her feelings. No, I am labeling her according to the criteria she so solidly fits into. (She has mysteriously become more vague on her political stances, however, since she has caught the scent of the presidency, don't let this fool you) Hillary wishes to decrease the gaps between the classes by redistibuting wealth, thus leveling the economic playing field. The (sarcasm alert) evil capitalists are all that stand in her way.

P.S. on the relationship between socialism and communism, see http://www.marxmail.org/faq/socialism_and_communism.htm

Sarah Scott said...

The link did not transfer well. Here is is again:
http://www.marxmail.org/faq/socialism_and_communism.htm

Tom said...

Justin,

Although I'm not particularly fond of the parental tone of the last part of your post, you are right. I should have resisted the temptation for sarcasm. I was irked because I tire of inaccurate labels that inhibit fair public discourse, but that's really no excuse.

Tom

Tom said...

Sarah,

First, sorry about my tone in the second email. Justin's right.

Second, why do you think that there is a connection between mudslinging and hurt feelings? The American Heritage Dictionary defines mudslinging this way: "an attempt to discredit one's competitor, opponent, etc., by malicious or scandalous attacks." In conservative Christian circles, calling a politician a 'socialist' is certainly an attempt to discredit him or her.

Discrediting or not, is the term accurate? Not if you are going by the way it is standardly defined or as it is used by Marxist political theorists. If you look up the term 'socialist' in pretty much any standard dictionary you'll get a definition like this one from the American Heritage Dictionary: "Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy." Even the definition provided by the link you suggest begins by saying that what socialism and communism have in common is advocacy of the collective ownership of the means of production. So to back up the claim that Hillary’s a socialist, you have to provide evidence that she thinks that the state (or some other collective) should control the means of production. Quotations that indicate only that she thinks that government should help out the poor (via redistributing a certain amount of wealth) are not good evidence that she’s a socialist. I'm pretty sure that Hillary has never called for governmental ownership of Microsoft or GM.

Tom

Sarah Scott said...

Tom,

I appreciate your dialogue. However, we can learn a great deal from the political shortcomings of the past. Here I am referring to Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist/Facist who was far less overt about his stance on social reform than others (like Hillary) but was firmly entrenched in the ideals of socialism.

The reason for this label: Gramsci believed in redistribution of wealth. This Hillary believes in this, too. Gramsci recognized the importance of 2 wars in the battle for "cultural hedgemony", or totalitarianism:

1) The war of position, meaning using whatever tactics possible (media, universitiy classrooms, etc) to soften the public's stance on more governmental control and increase class unrest. Buzz words such as "socialism" and "communism" still leave a bad taste in the mouths of the general public during the beginning of this war

2) The war of movement begins when the opposition to the aims of socialism has largely softened, and welcomed by the deluded masses, the government mobilizes into totalitarian action.

I understand what you are saying, but Hillary believes wholeheartedly in redistributing wealth. She is vocal about it, and is being wise to not use the term "socialist", because, as you experienced, it does not resonate well with people. That, among other things, is why I believe that we are in the middle of Gramsci's "war of position". Hillary wants to socialize and globalize. One leads to socialism, and the other incubates it.

Tom said...

Sarah,

Thanks for responding. I agree that we should learn from history. That said, I'm not seeing the basis for the connection to Gramsci, at least not in the context of this discussion.

In my last post, I argued that neither you nor Justin had provided any reason to think Hillary is a socialist (as that term is defined by standard dictionaries) because neither of you cited evidence that suggests she thinks that the means of the production (and distribution) of goods should be collectivized. I'm not just picking nits here: this is essential to socialism. You respond by saying that she believes in the redistribution of wealth. Maybe so (more on that in a minute), but that's not to the point. I agree with you that she is more liberal than she is now letting on; but that doesn't mean she is hiding full-blown socialism. To justify that claim, you need evidence.

And about the redistribution claim: I daresay that every candidate in both major parties (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) believes in redistribution of wealth. And unless you want to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and every other governmental social service, so do you. To not want any such redistribution is to want a society that doesn't *guarantee* basic health care (for example) for even the most disabled and the poorest of the elderly. The difference between Hillary and Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback is simply one of degree; Hillary wants more, they want less. None of these folks want the state to own the means of production or the elimination of a government supported safety net for the least of these.

Dr. Steve Cowan said...

Tom said...
To not want any such redistribution is to want a society that doesn't *guarantee* basic health care (for example) for even the most disabled and the poorest of the elderly

Hi, Tom! I hope you are doing well. I read your posts here and had to chime in on the above excerpt. I'm not sure what the intent of the emphasis is on the term "guarantee." But, as a near-libertarian, I'm inclined to to say that "not wanting government redistribution of wealth" does not necessarily imply "wanting a society that doesn't guarantee basic health care for the poorest and disabled." All it implies is "not wanting a society in which GOVERNMENT (via taxation)guarantees basic health care for the poorest and disabled." Of course, I suppose you could reply that only via government enforcement could there be any such guarantee at all, but I wouldn't be so sure. My two cents.

Tom said...

Hey Steve,

You are very perceptive. Your take on what I meant by emphasizing "guarantee" is exactly right. I understand the perspective that thinks that it is the church rather than the state that has the responsibility for caring for the poor and handicapped. Unfortunately, I don't think the church has the organization or the heart to make sure that no truly needy person goes without aid. The government, on the other hand, has the organization and doesn't need the heart so long as the right laws are on the books.

I hope you and your family are well.

Tom said...

One more thing: my wife is the pastor of a small church in a small town and she regularly gets calls from people asking for money and food (but usually money). The churches in the town she works in have a common food bank, so in principle such calls get forwarded to the church that runs the bank. But she's been disappointed in, and a little demoralized by, the number of people who try to work the system and get regular hand outs from multiple churches using various stories at each turn. Although the church she serves, and those other congregrations who participate in the food bank, have their hearts squarely in the right place, they simply lack the kind of information and organization that allows them to have any confidence that their distributions of food and money are given to the truly needy. Of course, state-sponsored programs have some of the same problems, but their resources for catching scams are significantly greater than are those of church networks. This is one reason for thinking that the primary safety net is better run by the government than by churches.